... Then in the distance I saw a mist
And the mist turned into a cloud.
And as I stood and watched, each drop
Of vapour turned into a face. The crowd
Moved around me in laughter and song
With eyes that were bright and voices strong
Each face separate and distinct.
Though all in common purpose linked.
But who were these people? Somehow I knew
That if only I guessed, my guess would be true.
And so I decided that one band of figures
From centuries past were Winstanley's diggers
Proclaiming all folk were of equal worth
To share in the treasures of the Earth.
Some Luddites were holding a great hammer high
They'd been slandered by history, but I could see why
They'd set about smashing their masters' machines
Which were not tools of progress, but used as a means
To steal from these people their labour and skill
And ensure they were bent to their masters' will.
Some faces I knew - Paul Robeson was giving
Full voice to a tune that said Joe Hill was living.
Joe smiled, and agreed that in each mine and mill
Where the workers were fighting his spirit lived still.
Mary Seacole was resting from easing the pain
Of those men sent to die so their rulers might gain.
She's forgotten by history - her skin wasn't pale
Though she healed just as surely as Nurse Nightingale.
Harriet Tubman rejoiced with the slaves that she'd freed
From those 'civilised' gentlemen driven by greed.
From Central America, no more invisible
Those who vanished from lands where dissent's not permissible.
Karen Silkwood, who died fighting nuclear might.
Blair Peach - killed by police for supporting the right
To protest against fascism. Others who'd died
Fighting fascist battalions in Spain's countryside.
There was Sacco, Vanzetti. There were Suffragettes too.
There were miners and matchgirls, and some people who
Had been friends of mine. They died with much still to give
But they'd all used their lives to find new ways to live.
Gazing in awe on this great panorama
I wondered what part it could play in my drama.
Then, as I wondered, they all spoke in chorus:
"There's something," they said "that we'd quite like done for us
"We are dead, and our life's work is not yet fulfilled
For we all tried, in some different manner, to build
A world that is decent and honest and fair
Where we all get what's needed, and what's left we share
But the world is not like that - that's clear and that's plain
And we're not blaming you, but don't make it in vain
That we lived lives of struggle - continue the fight
While you live, you can change things - we know that that's right."
And I looked, and I saw that in each of their eyes
Stood a part of a new world, and to my surprise
I could now see what they saw, and so understood
We become fully human by working for good.
We may fail, but it's better to know that we've been
A part of humanity - not a machine.
My strength was redoubled, my hope was renewed
As I shared in the vision of these comrades who'd
Bequeathed us their talent, their wisdom, their love
And the knowledge that our deeds can make the world move.
I stood there renewed, thinking "no, life's not tragic"
Then they piped up again and said "Show us some magic"